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'Unspoken' pressures stressing employees

Employees feel pressured to adhere to a damaging culture of long hours both in and out of the office

Unspoken workplace expectations pressure employees to adopt less balanced lifestyles to progress their careers, according to research from Bridge by Instructure.

The survey of more than 1,000 office workers found that 78% thought working more hours was at least a moderately important factor in getting promoted. Rather than being encouraged to spend time with family or friends once leaving the office, 50% said socialising with colleagues and peers outside of work was an important part of progressing their careers.

Employees fear that failing to follow these unspoken company 'rules' might make it harder for them to get ahead. More than half (53%) said that 'engaging in workplace politics' was at least a moderately important factor in receiving a promotion. Additionally, 43% said that acting interested in bosses' or superiors’ stories is at least moderately.

The research suggested these pressures cause employees to feel stressed at work, and to then engage in ‘stress-busting’ habits. It found that on average employees spend up to 77 minutes per day watching non-work-related TV or online videos while at work, and one in five (18%) go for walks to de-stress.

However, it appears employees are successfully enforcing time away from technology at home. Forty-four per cent said they leave their computers off or at work, while 21% reported that they leave their work devices in other rooms at home.

Matt Bingham, VP of product for Bridge, warned of the impact blurring home and work can have on productivity.

“Because of today’s workplace atmosphere many employees aren’t able to fully disconnect after traditional work hours, and feel they need to work more in order to advance,” he said. “Our survey finds this type of culture can decrease workforce productivity and significantly affect profitability.

“The study underscores an opportunity for employers to promote greater work/life balance and establish a more frequent feedback loop with employees that helps them attain their career aspirations. Implementing these processes could help curb pervasive stress and burnout.”